Nick's Picks: Lanai

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Nicholas Abreu

As I write this, a round-trip flight from Rochester to Honolulu costs $1,051 and takes about fourteen hours. Rochesterians looking for a respite from cold weather and dreary skies can always go the vacation route. However, a more realistic break from the brutal upstate New York winter may come at Lanai, a new island-themed bar and restaurant at 295 Alexander Street.

In the two-story building that used to hold Mex, Lanai serves up delicious tropical drinks at the bar on its first floor and Asian-Hawaiian fusion dishes in the dining room on its second floor.

Decorated with paintings of fish and coral reef, Lanai’s well-stocked wooden bar specializes in classic cocktails like Mai Tais and Daiquiris, as well as frozen drinks like Blue Hawaiians or a Singapore Sling—made with gin, cherry-flavored brandy, and pineapple juice. For patrons who crave a simpler drink, Lanai also has an impressive list of local and international draught beers.

At the top of a twirling staircase, Lanai’s intimate dining room blends vibrant, tropical colors and a 1950s playlist to create an atmosphere reminiscent of an old-school tiki bar with a hint of Americana.

Along with a unique ambiance, diners can look forward to a unique menu. Lanai offers a variety of Hawaiian and Southeast Asian dishes that are largely unfamiliar to our local dining scene.

The appetizer list features small plates such as Japanese pot stickers, steamed soy bean pods, and Mauna Pua—a steamed sweet dough bun filled with barbecue char sui pork.

Entrées include pineapple fried rice, red curry, pork butt braised in vinegar and soy-based broth, flank-style Shoyu ribs marinated in teriyaki sauce, and dozens of other exotic options.

To explore Lanai’s full menu and hours of operation, visit

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